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Mariel Embry, a 2022 graduate of SNHU's online BA in Creative Writing degree program, writing on a tablet.

Creative Writing Degree Online Bachelor of Arts (BA)

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Write Your Own Story 

  • $330/credit (120 credits)
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Receive credit for prior learning
  • 4 genre options for concentrations
  • Advanced writing workshops
  • No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required

Creative Writing Degree Program Overview

If you have a passion for storytelling and want to pursue a career using your writing talents, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing and English program can help you get on the right path.

You'll develop your writing skills alongside students from across the country, who represent an incredible range of voices and experiences. Together, you'll participate in workshops, producing work and presenting it to your peers for commentary and discussion.

"Everything I learned during my degree journey added to my understanding of how to write and boosted my creativity," said Aubrie Arnold '20 , a graduate of the creative writing program. "I now feel like I can and will write novels – I’m working on that now – and I feel like I have the correct tools to make those novels successful.”

This degree is also an attractive option for transfer students, as it offers a number of free electives.

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What You'll Learn

  • Essential writing and critical-thinking skill sets
  • Literary analysis to inform the application of storytelling elements
  • Literary form, genre, structure and style
  • Conventions and techniques used by varying genres

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How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

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An Online Creative Writing Degree Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Whether you are looking to advance your career or simply want to pursue your passion for writing, the online creative writing bachelor's program at SNHU offers a supportive community, comprehensive curriculum, and flexible format that can help you achieve your goals.

Concentration Options

When you choose to study creative writing at SNHU, you have the option to stay with the general track – which gives you the flexibility to study a variety of genres – or you can opt to add one of our 4 concentrations to your degree : fiction, nonfiction, poetry or screenwriting.

Fiction Aspiring authors and storytellers who are looking for a way to gain inspiration and foster their imaginations will find the online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Fiction Writing to be the perfect balance of craft and critical analysis. This BA program emphasizes the craft of fiction writing and helps you develop an appreciation for all forms of fiction while honing your writing skills and philosophy of composition. You'll gain insights into publishing technologies and the industry as you enhance your fundamental knowledge of fiction writing's most crucial elements. This comprehensive program gives you a powerful understanding of plot, character development, narrative voice and other mechanics of creative writing. Studying fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University doesn't just focus on developing your skill and technique. This program also gives you the opportunity to explore your creative boundaries, perfect your craft and dive deeper into your preferred genre. From fantasy to sci-fi and mystery to young adult, you can embrace the style of writing that you're drawn to and bring your original stories to life. The format of this BA program encourages collaboration and direct interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Nicholas Patterson '22 found peer interaction through writing workshops to be a favorite part of his program. "I have learned tons of new skills," he said, "but most importantly learned how to grow from constructive criticism." Career outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for writers and authors was $73,150 in 2022. 1 The BLS notes that a degree and publication is typically required for a full-time writing position. Writers who concentrate in fiction have career opportunities in a range of professions, including content writing, editing, copywriting, publishing, communications and more. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Fiction Writing Workshop Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Nonfiction Discover your niche with a nonfiction writing degree online at Southern New Hampshire University. Our online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Nonfiction delves into a wide variety of styles and subjects – everything from the personal essay to autobiography, memoir, travel writing and magazine features. Our creative writing online program can help you combine research and reflection with compelling storytelling. You'll also gain insights into publishing technologies and the industry, explore your creative boundaries and develop a unique voice. A solid foundation in the broader scope of creative writing is critical to the craft of nonfiction writing. In our comprehensive nonfiction writing program, you'll acquire a powerful understanding of research, narrative voice and other mechanics of creative writing. The online nonfiction writing degree program's format encourages collaboration and ongoing interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: The median annual salary for writers and authors was $73,150 in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1 Nonfiction writers can publish in magazines, newspapers, and literary journals, as well as find career opportunities in digital content writing, social media/communications, copywriting and editing. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Nonfiction Writing Workshop Intermediate Nonfiction Writing Workshop Advanced Nonfiction Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Poetry The online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry degree program is an opportunity for aspiring poets to find inspiration, engagement and creative collaboration with peers and faculty alike. Our specialized program enables you to hone your craft and unleash your imagination, helping you create imagery in verse. While a poetry degree is valuable in and of itself, it can also prepare you for many professional paths. You can explore careers in creative writing, advertising, journalism, publishing and advertising copywriting. Southern New Hampshire University also offers an online Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. As a student in our poetry degree online program, you'll begin taking writing courses during your first year. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: Career paths with a BA in creative writing include work as a creative writer, advertising copywriter, journalist, publisher or poet. Writers have also found careers in communications, digital content writing and editing. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Poetry Writing Workshop Intermediate Poetry Writing Workshop Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Screenwriting Whether you have dreams of writing blockbusters, developing documentaries or working with other writers on sitcoms, the online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Screenwriting is an excellent way to hone your writing skills and put your passion to work. The classes in this specialized online screenwriting degree are based on a comprehensive study of creative writing, with a special focus on story structure, character development and the visual medium of film. You'll have the opportunity to explore all of the forms that screenwriting takes – feature-length and short films, television episodes and miniseries, commercial and internet-based video. While creative writing is at the core of this program, your screenwriting classes will place a special emphasis on visual storytelling. Designed by experienced and distinguished faculty, this creative writing program will give you a powerful understanding of how story, character, theme, action, visuals and dialogue intertwine to create a compelling moment in time. The format for the screenwriting degree online program encourages collaboration and direct interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: Blockbuster movies, independent films and shorts, commercials, television dramas and sitcoms all rest their success on the backbone of their scripts. Screenwriters have lots of options when it comes to navigating their careers. You could pursue independent work and make your stories come to life – or you could develop scripts for specific projects that need a writer's touch. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors earned a median annual salary of $73,150 in 2022. 1 Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop Intermediate Screenwriting Workshop Advanced Screenwriting Workshop Request Info Apply Now if (typeof accordionGroup === "undefined") { window.accordionGroup = new accordion(); } accordionGroup.init(document.getElementById('a7db942c2ff94e9783a92e9b328572c0')); Career Outlook

Use storytelling skills to write everything from children’s books and novels to biographies, essays and memoirs.

Apply your understanding of the written word to plan, review and revise content for publication in books, periodicals or online platforms.

Promote a product, service or organization with content for advertisements, marketing campaigns or websites.

Research topics, investigate story ideas and interview sources to write compelling nonfiction articles for newspapers, magazines, blogs and television news programs.

Screenwriter

Use the power of writing to create visual and auditory experiences for everything from major blockbuster films to television episodes and commercials.

Speechwriter

Write speeches for business leaders, politicians and others, using words to engage with and move an audience.

And with today's technology, it's easy for writers and authors to work from just about anywhere as long as they have internet access – meaning jobs aren't limited to major cities anymore.

In addition to the writing skills you'll develop in a creative writing degree program, you could also pick up a handful of other career skills 1 the workforce desperately needs, like:

  • Adaptability: Adapt to updates in software platforms and programs, including various content management systems (CMS).
  • Creativity: Develop interesting plots, characters or ideas for new stories.
  • Critical-thinking skills: Understand concepts that must be conveyed through writing.
  • Determination: Gain the focus to meet deadlines.
  • Persuasion: Convince others to feel a certain way about a good or service – especially if you choose a career in advertising.
  • Social perceptiveness: Develop an understanding of how readers respond to and connect with your work.

"This [program] not only allowed me to explore my creativity through writing," said Nicholas Patterson '22 . "It taught me the fundamentals of the industry and how to pursue a career in it."

Job Growth and Salary

Prospects for writer and author occupations appear promising in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry shift from print to online media should result in employment growth. 1

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for writers and authors are projected to grow 4% through 2032 — that's as fast as average for all occupations. 1

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In 2022, the median annual wage for writers and authors was $73,150 . 1

Understanding the Numbers When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Creative Writing Degree

Why snhu for your creative writing degree flexible with no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7. affordable as part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. in fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation. prior coursework could also help you save time and money. snhu’s transfer policy  allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. you could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience , or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you. respected founded in 1932 , southern new hampshire university is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. snhu is accredited by the new england commission of higher education (neche), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.  recently, snhu has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education: u.s. news & world report named snhu the 2021 most innovative university in the north and one of the nation's "best regional universities" awarded the 21st century distance learning award for excellence in online technology by the united states distance learning association (usdla) a $1 million grant from google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth network at southern new hampshire university, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities. 93.2% of online students would recommend snhu according to a 2023 survey with 21,000+ respondents. discover why snhu may be right for you . opportunities you'll have the chance to share your work with the vibrant creative writing community at snhu: the penmen review , our online journal that accepts submissions 12 times a year word for word, a bimonthly livestream event featuring published writers reading from their work fall fiction contest, a short-story competition that offers snhu scholarships among its prizes student writers spotlight, a livestream reading showcasing the best of snhu's creative writing students admission requirements expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. that’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials: completed free undergraduate application prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you test scores are not required as part of your application acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms . how to apply if you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going: complete a free undergraduate application submit any additional documents required work with an admission counselor  to explore financial options  and walk through the application process if you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email [email protected] . if (typeof accordiongroup === "undefined") { window.accordiongroup = new accordion(); } accordiongroup.init(document.getelementbyid('06235c05b74e467bb258c6a2eee81259')); what snhu students are saying.

Nicholas Patterson, a 2022 online creative writing degree graduate and current SNHU staff member

"I came [to SNHU] originally to have more freedoms and explore my creativity in a new environment. This program has given me that and more – this program has enabled me to improve myself in every facet of writing, from brainstorming a new idea to learning about genres and even how to market myself and my writing."

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120 Credits

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8-Week Terms

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100% Online

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No Set Class Times

Southern New Hampshire University is home to one of the largest creative writing programs in the country.

Our unique online creative writing degree allows you to take writing courses from the start. The program features 4 writing workshops, including an advanced workshop in which you'll complete a polished piece in the genre of your choice.

The courses in our BA in Creative Writing can help develop your talent for creating stories, novels and characters and turning them into finished, professional pieces. Whether you choose the general track or a specific genre, you'll learn from published writers with valuable industry insights.

In addition to the courses and electives within the major, SNHU's online writing degree program includes 30 credits of free electives. This leaves you with room to choose courses or a minor in an area of study that you'd like to write about – like history or psychology – or the opportunity to complement your studies with career skills, such as graphic design or marketing. The amount of free electives also makes our creative writing degree an attractive option for transfer students.

Throughout your program, you'll learn from published writers, professional editors, publishers and established literary critics – subject-matter experts who can help guide you to improving your craft.

As a bonus at SNHU, you can choose to further your study of creative writing with one of our popular graduate programs:

  • Online MA in English and Creative Writing: Building on the learnings from your bachelor's degree, you can choose from the same 4 concentrations – fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting or poetry – in this 36-credit online master's in writing  program,  which allows you to develop creative works that can contribute to your professional advancement.
  • Online MFA in Creative Writing: Gain both the writing skills and the professional skills to succeed in areas like marketing, publishing, content writing, teaching and freelancing in this fully online, 48-credit online MFA in creative writing  program. You can also focus on a wide range of fiction genres – such as contemporary, romance, young adult or speculative – plus you'll add one of two embedded certificates to your program: professional writing or the online teaching of writing.
  • Low-Residency MFA in Fiction or Nonfiction: This highly focused 2-year program consists of 4 workshops and 4 in-person, weeklong residencies in New Hampshire. Within the 60-credit low-residency MFA  program, you'll complete both a manuscript suitable for submission to editors and a critical essay that's ideal for literary journals.

Curriculum Requirements & Resources

General education.

All undergraduate students are required to take general education courses , which are part of SNHU's newly redesigned program, The Commons. The goal of The Commons' curriculum is to empower you with some of the most in-demand skills, so you can succeed not only in your academic career, but in your personal and professional life too.

Technology Resources

We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments .

Earn Math Credits

Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.

Minimum Hardware Requirements Component Type   PC (Windows OS)   Apple (Mac OS)   Operating System  Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.   Currently supported operating system from Apple.  Memory (RAM)  8GB or higher  8GB or higher  Hard Drive  100GB or higher  100GB or higher  Antivirus Software  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  SNHU Purchase Programs  Visit Dell   Visit Apple   Internet/ Bandwidth  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  Notes:   Laptop or desktop?   Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.  Note:   Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.  Office 365 Pro Plus  is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for  Microsoft 365 plans  for business, education and government.  Antivirus software:  Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.  if (typeof accordionGroup === "undefined") { window.accordionGroup = new accordion(); } accordionGroup.init(document.getElementById('f756dce5bd874c61855f6f6e92d88470')); What to Expect as an Online Student No set class times: Asynchronous classes let you do your coursework when and where you want Pick your pace: Choose between full time (2 courses) or part time (1 course) each term Student support: 24/7 access to online student services like the library, tech and academic support if (typeof carouselContainer === "undefined") { window.carouselContainer = new carousel(); } let vc_0a2c09e41977426b8f3008e18ed9a68a = document.getElementById('carousel-0a2c09e41977426b8f3008e18ed9a68a') if (vc_0a2c09e41977426b8f3008e18ed9a68a !== null) { carouselContainer.init(vc_0a2c09e41977426b8f3008e18ed9a68a); } University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education

Tuition & Fees

As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.

We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs No Application Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

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​Why is History Important?​

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Why is Poetry Important? Celebrating National Poetry Month

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Creative Writing and Literature

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Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction. Through online group courses and one-on-one tutorials, as well as a week on campus, students hone their craft and find their voice.

Creative Writing

Stanford’s Creative Writing Program--one of the best-known in the country--cultivates the power of individual expression within a vibrant community of writers. Many of our English majors pursue a concentration in creative writing, and the minor in Creative Writing is among the most popular minors on campus. These majors and minors participate in workshop-based courses or independent tutorials with Stegner Fellows, Stanford’s distinguished writers-in-residence.

English Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis

The English major with a Creative Writing emphasis is a fourteen-course major. These fourteen courses comprise eight English courses and six Creative Writing courses.

English majors with a Creative Writing emphasis should note the following:

All courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Courses taken abroad or at other institutions may not be counted towards the workshop requirements.

Any 190 series course (190F, 190G, etc.), 191 series course (191T, etc.), or 192 series course (192V, etc.) counts toward the 190, 191, or 192 requirement.

PWR 1 is a prerequisite for all creative writing courses.

Minor in Creative Writing

The Minor in Creative Writing offers a structured environment in which students interested in writing fiction or poetry develop their skills while receiving an introduction to literary forms. Students may choose a concentration in fiction, poetry.

In order to graduate with a minor in Creative Writing, students must complete the following three courses plus three courses in either the prose or poetry tracks. Courses counted towards the requirements for the minor may not be applied to student's major requirements. 30 units are required. All courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Prose Track

Suggested order of requirements:

English 90. Fiction Writing or English 91. Creative Nonfiction

English 146S Secret Lives of the Short Story

One 5-unit English literature elective course

English 190. Intermediate Fiction Writing or English 191. Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing

English 92. Reading and Writing Poetry

Another English 190, 191, 290. Advanced Fiction, 291. Advanced Nonfiction, or 198L. Levinthal Tutorial

Poetry Track

English 92.Reading and Writing Poetry

English 160. Poetry and Poetics

English 192. Intermediate Poetry Writing

Another English 192, or 292.Advanced Poetry or 198L.Levinthal Tutorial

Creative Writing minors should note the following:

To declare a Creative Writing minor, visit the Student page in Axess. To expedite your declaration, make sure to list all 6 courses you have taken or plan to take for your minor.

Any 190 series course (190F, 190G, etc.), 191series course (191T, etc.), or 192 series course (192V, etc.) counts toward the 190, 191, or 192 requirement.

For more information, visit the Stanford Creative Writing Program.

Creative Writing

Creative writing (poetry), professor/instructor.

Practice in the original composition of poetry supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences.

Creative Writing (Fiction)

Practice in the original composition of fiction supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript at least every other week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences.

Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences.

Introductory Playwriting

This is a workshop in the fundamentals of writing plays. Through writing prompts, exercises, study and reflection, students will be guided in the creation of original dramatic material. Attention will be given to character, structure, dramatic action, monologue, dialogue, language

Creative Nonfiction

This is a workshop in factual writing and what has become known as literary non-fiction, emphasizing writing assignments and including several reading assignments. Students will examine masterpieces about social inequality and to what extent it is possible for authors to know the struggles of their subjects, and to create empathy for them. One three-hour seminar.

Advanced Creative Writing (Poetry)

Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: Two 200-level CWR courses.

Advanced Creative Writing (Fiction)

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings.

Advanced practice in the original composition of fiction for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. Prerequisites: Two 200-level CWR courses.

Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

Advanced practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Prerequisites: 205 or 206 and by application.

Advanced practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Prerequisites: 205 or 206 or by Program permission.

Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting

A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, in this class, students will complete either one full-length play or two long one-acts (40-60 pages) to the end of gaining a firmer understanding of characterization, dialogue, structure, and the playwriting process. In addition to questions of craft, an emphasis will be placed on the formation of healthy creative habits and the sharpening of critical and analytical skills through reading and responding to work of both fellow students and contemporary playwrights of note.

Special Topics in Creative Writing

Students gain special access to the critical understanding of literature through their involvement in the creative process. Topics include autobiography, prosody, non-fiction, revision and point of view. Students are expected to prepare a manuscript at least every other week. Specific topics and prerequisites will vary. By application.

Advanced Creative Writing Tutorial

Tutorials in the original composition of fiction, poetry, or translations, open to those who have demonstrated unusual commitment and talent through four terms of creative writing or who provide equivalent evidence of their capacity for advanced work. Open also to qualified graduate students. Individual conferences to be arranged.

Special Topics in Screenwriting

This class will familiarize students with the complex use of metaphorical, emotional, and visual threads in long form screenplay writing. Analyzing examples of international, independent, and classical structures, students will be exposed to the rhythms and demands of the process of conceiving and writing a long form narrative film. Prerequisite: Introduction to Screenwriting and by application.

Advanced Seminar in American Studies

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge.

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What to Know About Creative Writing Degrees

Many creative writing degree recipients pursue careers as authors while others work as copywriters or ghostwriters.

Tips on Creative Writing Degrees

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Prospective writing students should think about their goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals.

Many people see something magical in a beautiful work of art, and artists of all kinds often take pride in their craftsmanship. Creative writers say they find fulfillment in the writing process.

"I believe that making art is a human need, and so to get to do that is amazing," says Andrea Lawlor, an author who this year received a Whiting Award – a national $50,000 prize that recognizes 10 excellent emerging authors each year – and who is also the Clara Willis Phillips Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

"We all are seeing more and more of the way that writing can help us understand perspectives we don't share," says Lawlor, whose recent novel "Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl" addresses the issue of gender identity.

"Writing can help us cope with hard situations," Lawlor says. "We can find people who we have something in common with even if there's nobody around us who shares our experience through writing. It's a really powerful tool for connection and social change and understanding."

Creative writing faculty, many of whom are acclaimed published authors, say that people are well-suited toward degrees in creative writing if they are highly verbal and enjoy expressing themselves.

"Creative imaginative types who have stories burning inside them and who gravitate toward stories and language might want to pursue a degree in creative writing," Jessica Bane Robert, who teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Clark University in Massachusetts, wrote in an email. "Through formal study you will hone your voice, gain confidence, find a support system for what can otherwise be a lonely endeavor."

Read the guide below to gain more insight into what it means to pursue a creative writing education, how writing impacts society and whether it is prudent to invest in a creative writing degree. Learn about the difference between degree-based and non-degree creative writing programs, how to craft a solid application to a top-notch creative writing program and how to figure out which program is the best fit.

Why Creative Writing Matters and Reasons to Study It

Creative writers say a common misconception about their job is that their work is frivolous and impractical, but they emphasize that creative writing is an extremely effective way to convey messages that are hard to share in any other way.

Kelly Caldwell, dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, says prospective writing students are often discouraged from taking writing courses because of concerns about whether a writing life is somehow unattainable or "unrealistic."

Although creative writers are sometimes unable to financially support themselves entirely on the basis of their creative projects, Caldwell says, they often juggle that work with other types of jobs and lead successful careers.

She says that many students in her introductory creative writing class were previously forbidden by parents to study creative writing. "You have to give yourself permission for the simple reason that you want to do it," she suggests.

Creative writing faculty acknowledge that a formal academic credential in creative writing is not needed in order to get writing published. However, they suggest, creative writing programs help aspiring authors develop their writing skills and allow space and time to complete long-term writing projects.

Working writers often juggle multiple projects at once and sometimes have more than one gig, which can make it difficult to finish an especially ambitious undertaking such as a novel, a play for the screen or stage, or a well-assembled collection of poems, short stories or essays. Grants and fellowships for authors are often designed to ensure that those authors can afford to concentrate on their writing.

Samuel Ace, a published poet and a visiting lecturer in poetry at Mount Holyoke, says his goal is to show students how to write in an authentic way that conveys real feeling. "It helps students to become more direct, not to bury their thoughts under a cascade of academic language, to be more forthright," he says.

Tips on Choosing Between a Non-Degree or Degree-Based Creative Writing Program

Experts note that someone needs to be ready to get immersed in the writing process and devote significant time to writing projects before pursuing a creative writing degree. Prospective writing students should not sign up for a degree program until they have reached that sense of preparedness, warns Kim Todd, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and director of its creative writing program.

She says prospective writing students need to think about their personal goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals.

Aspiring writers who are not ready to invest in a creative writing degree program may want to sign up for a one-off writing class or begin participating in an informal writing workshop so they can test their level of interest in the field, Todd suggests.

How to Choose and Apply to a Creative Writing Program

In many cases, the most important component of an application to a writing program is the writing portfolio, writing program experts say. Prospective writing students need to think about which pieces of writing they include in their portfolio and need to be especially mindful about which item they put at the beginning of their portfolio. They should have a trusted mentor critique the portfolio before they submit it, experts suggest.

Because creative writing often involves self-expression, it is important for aspiring writing students to find a program where they feel comfortable expressing their true identity.

This is particularly pertinent to aspiring authors who are members of minority groups, including people of color or LGBTQ individuals, says Lawlor, who identifies as queer, transgender and nonbinary.

How to Use a Creative Writing Degree

Creative writing program professors and alumni say creative writing programs cultivate a variety of in-demand skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.

"While yes, many creative writers are idealists and dreamers, these are also typically highly flexible and competent people with a range of personal strengths. And a good creative writing program helps them understand their particular strengths and marketability and translate these for potential employers, alongside the more traditional craft development work," Melissa Ridley Elmes, an assistant professor of English at Lindenwood University in Missouri, wrote in an email.

Elmes – an author who writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction – says creative writing programs force students to develop personal discipline because they have to consistently produce a significant amount of writing. In addition, participating in writing workshops requires writing students "to give and receive constructive feedback," Elmes says.

Cindy Childress, who has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana—Lafayatte and did a creative writing dissertation where she submitted poetry, says creative writing grads are well-equipped for good-paying positions as advertising and marketing copywriters, speechwriters, grant writers and ghostwriters.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual compensation for writers and authors was $63,200 as of May 2019.

"I think the Internet, and writing communities online and in social media, have been very helpful for debunking the idea that if you publish a New York Times Bestseller you will have 'made it' and can quit your day job and write full time," Elmes explains. "Unless you are independently wealthy, the odds are very much against you in this regard."

Childress emphasizes that creative writing degree recipients have "skills that are absolutely transferable to the real world." For example, the same storytelling techniques that copywriters use to shape public perceptions about a commercial brand are often taught in introductory creative writing courses, she says. The ability to tell a good story does not necessarily come easily to people who haven't been trained on how to do it, she explains.

Childress says she was able to translate her creative writing education into a lucrative career and start her own ghostwriting and book editing company, where she earns a six-figure salary. She says her background in poetry taught her how to be pithy.

"Anything that we want to write nowadays, particularly for social media, is going to have to be immediately understood, so there is a sense of immediacy," she says."The language has to be crisp and direct and exact, and really those are exactly the same kind of ways you would describe a successful poem."

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Writers.com

Why learn creative writing? Truthfully, creative writing is one of the most misunderstood disciplines in the 21st century. When people think of a creative writing course, they often imagine a group of lofty, out-of-touch people who wear argyle sweater vests and have unproductive conversations about abstract concepts.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth: the best writing classes remain engaged with the real world, and the skills gained in a creative writing course apply to nearly every facet of daily life.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth picking up a course in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, we have five reasons to learn creative writing. But first, let’s talk about what actually happens in a creative writing course.

The Basics of a Writing Workshop

Whether you’re enrolled in a poetry, fiction, or nonfiction writing class, you can expect the following writing process – at least in a quality writing course like the ones at Writers.com.

  • Weekly prompts and writing exercises to sharpen the precision and necessity of each word you use.
  • Constructive critiques from a community of writers who are each growing their writing skills alongside you.
  • A creative space to explore new ideas, experiment with language, and arrange words in new and exciting ways.
  • Focused writing instruction from a master of the craft.

The benefits of creative writing come from engaging with the course material, the writing prompts, and the other class members. These elements help you become a better writer, both in creative realms and in everyday life. How? No matter what form of writing, a creative writing class pushes you to connect ideas and create effective narratives using the best words – and that skill translates into real world success.

The Benefits of Creative Writing

1. why learn creative writing: improved self-expression.

Improving your writing skills leads to stronger communication. When you practice finding the right word in a story or poem, you engage the same parts of your brain that are active in everyday writing and speaking. A creative writing course subconsciously turns you into a more effective communicator.

The importance of precise language and self-advocacy translates well into both interpersonal relationships and working environments. Take it from this expert on how writing and self-advocacy results in career and leadership success.

2. Why Learn Creative Writing: Job Success

This brings us to our next point: great writing leads to job success. Of course, your boss probably isn’t expecting you to write emails in the form of a short story or a sonnet – though if they are expecting this, you have a pretty cool boss.

In reality, almost every job requires some sort of written work, whether that’s simple written communication or something more elaborate, like publishing data or marketing materials. In a creative writing class, you practice the style and grammar rules necessary for effective writing, both within the realms of literature and in career-related writing. Sharpening your writing and creativity skills might just land you your next promotion.

3. Why Learn Creative Writing: Improved Thinking Skills

Strong writing leads to strong thinking. No matter what type of writing you pursue, learning how to write is another form of learning how to think.

That might seem like a bold claim, so think about it this way. Without language, our thoughts wouldn’t have form. We might not need language to think “I’m hungry” or “I like cats,” but when it comes to more abstract concepts, language is key. How would you think about things like justice, revenge, or equality without the words to express them?

When you hone in on your ability to find choice, specific words, and when you work on the skills of effective storytelling and rhetoric , you improve your ability to think in general. Good writing yields great thinking!

4. Why Learn Creative Writing: Empathy

Reading and writing both rely on empathy, especially when it comes to being an effective workshop participant. When we read and write stories, we situate ourselves in the shoes of other people; when we read and write poetry, we let language navigate us through emotion.

The importance of creative writing relies on empathy. We practice empathy whenever we listen to another person’s life story, when someone tells us about their day, and when we sit down with a client or work partner. When we write, we practice the ability to listen as well as to speak, making us more effective communicators and more compassionate human beings.

5. Why Learn Creative Writing: It’s Fun!

In case you’re not convinced that a writing course is right for you, let’s clarify one more fact: creative writing is fun. Whether you’re in a fiction writing course, starting a memoir, crafting a poem, or writing for the silver screen, you’re creating new worlds and characters. In the sandbox of literature, you’re in control, and when you invest yourself into the craft of writing, something beautiful emerges.

The Importance of Creative Writing

Simply put, creative writing helps us preserve our humanity. What better medium to explore the human experience?

To learn creative writing, like any art form, requires compassion, contemplation, and curiosity. Writers preserve the world as they observe it in stories and poetry, and they imagine a better world by creating it in their works.

Through the decades, literature has explored society’s profound changes. Literary eons like the Naturalist movement and the Beat poets responded to the increase in Western Industrialization. Confessional poets like Virginia Woolf helped transform poetry into a medium for emotional exploration and excavation. And, genre movements like the cyberpunk writers of science fiction helped popularize the idea of an “information economy.”

Thus, the importance of creative writing lies in its ability to describe the world through an honest and unfiltered lens. Anyone who engages in creative writing, no matter the genre or style, helps us explore the human experience, share new ideas, and advocate for a better society. Whether you write your stories for yourself or share them with a wide audience, creative writing makes the world a better place.

Jobs for Creative Writers

Because creative writing isn’t a STEM discipline, many people don’t think that learning it will help their job prospects. Why learn creative writing if it doesn’t make any money?

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Creative writing skills are much sought after on resumes, since both creativity and the ability to write are soft skills in decline. Additionally, if you’re considering a career change—or ready to start one!—these are some popular jobs for creative writers.

  • Average Starting Salary: $51,000
  • Demand: High
  • Skills needed: creativity, grammar, timeliness

Copywriters help companies put their branding into words. A copywriter might write emails, blogs, website content, or ad copy that encompasses the company’s voice and purpose. Copywriting requires you to write in a mix of styles and forms, flexing your writing muscles in new and exciting ways.

Grant Writer

  • Average Starting Salary: $50,000
  • Skills needed: storytelling, research, argumentation

Nonprofits and research facilities rely on local and national grants to fund their projects. Grant writers help secure that funding, writing engaging grants that tell the organization’s story in an engaging, tailored, and convincing way. Creative writers will enjoy the opportunity to tell a meaningful story and create positive community change through this career.

Communications/Public Relations Specialist

  • Skills needed: creativity, communications, social media

A communications specialist helps drive a company’s image through various social channels. They may help create a positive narrative for their company through blogs, journalist outreach, social media, and other public-facing avenues. Much like copywriting, a PR specialist helps weave an effective story for a company.

  • Average Starting Salary: $55,000
  • Demand: Medium/High
  • Skills needed: creativity, storytelling, organization, self-reliance

The dream job for many writers is to write and sell books. Being a novelist is an admirable career choice—and also requires the most work. Not only do you have to write your stories, but you also have to market yourself in the literary industry and maintain a social presence so that publishers and readers actually read your work. It’s a tough business, but also incredibly rewarding!

Reasons to Learn Creative Writing: Finding a Writing Community

Finally, creative writing communities make the writing struggle worth it. The relationships you foster with other creative writers can last a lifetime, as no other group of people has the same appreciation for the written word. Creative writing communities create transformative experiences and encourage growth in your writing; if there’s one reason to study creative writing craft, it’s the friendships you make in the process.

You don’t need a class to start writing, but it’s never a waste of time to learn the tools of the trade. Creative writing requires the skills that can help you in everyday life, and a creative writing course can help.

At Writers.com, we believe that creative writing can transform both individual lives and the world at large. See the importance of creative writing for yourself: check out what makes our creative writing courses different , then take a look at our upcoming course calendar today.

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Sean Glatch

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Would like to apply for a course to write a novel.

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I’d be happy to help! Please email [email protected] with any questions, and we’ll find the right course for your writing.

[…] Sean. “Why Learn Creative Writing.” writers.com. June 7, 2020. https://writers.com/why-learn-creative-writing . Accessed November 7, […]

[…] And last of all it’s fun! I hope to live my life doing the things I love, with like-minded creative people who I love. I have many exciting things upcoming as I continue with the process of completing my first novel, Les Année Folles, such as publishing to my first magazine, journal, and working on the millions of short story ideas I have stored in my head. Stay tuned! References: Glatch, S. (2020, June 7). WHY LEARN CREATIVE WRITING? Retrieved from Writers.com: https://writers.com/why-learn-creative-writing […]

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Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program

Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.

Online Courses

11 out of 12 total courses

On-Campus Experience

One 1- or 3-week residency in summer

$3,220 per course

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in creative writing and literature, you’ll hone your skills as a storyteller — crafting publishable original scripts, novels, and stories.

In small, workshop-style classes, you’ll master key elements of narrative craft, including characterization, story and plot structure, point of view, dialogue, and description. And you’ll learn to approach literary works as both a writer and scholar by developing skills in critical analysis.

Program Benefits

Instructors who are published authors of drama, fiction, and nonfiction

A community of writers who support your growth in live online classes

Writer's residency with agent & editor networking opportunities

Personalized academic and career advising

Thesis or capstone options that lead to publishable creative work

Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

As you work through the program’s courses, you’ll enhance your creative writing skills and knowledge of literary concepts and strategies. You’ll practice the art of revision to hone your voice as a writer in courses like Writing the Short Personal Essay and Writing Flash Fiction.

Within the creative writing and literature program, you will choose between a thesis or capstone track. You’ll also experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person.

11 Online Courses

  • Primarily synchronous
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

Writers’ Residency

A 1- or 3-week summer master class taught by a notable instructor, followed by an agents-and-editors weekend

Thesis or Capstone Track

  • Thesis: features a 9-month independent creative project with a faculty advisor
  • Capstone: includes crafting a fiction or nonfiction manuscript in a classroom community

The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 2 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Getting Started

We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

A Faculty of Creative Writing Experts

Studying at Harvard Extension School means learning from the world’s best. Our instructors are renowned academics in literary analysis, storytelling, manuscript writing, and more. They bring a genuine passion for teaching, with students giving our faculty an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Bryan Delaney

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Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University

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Our community at a glance.

80% of our creative writing and literature students are enrolled in our master’s degree program for either personal enrichment or to make a career change. Most (74%) are employed full time while pursuing their degree and work across a variety of industries.

Download: Creative Writing & Literature Master's Degree Fact Sheet

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Work Full Time

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Pursued for Personal Enrichment

Career Opportunities & Alumni Outcomes

Graduates of our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Program have writing, research, and communication jobs in the fields of publishing, advertising/marketing, fundraising, secondary and higher education, and more.

Some alumni continue their educational journeys and pursue further studies in other nationally ranked degree programs, including those at Boston University, Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania, and Cambridge University.

Our alumni hold titles as:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Director of Publishing
  • Senior Research Writer

Our alumni work at a variety of leading organizations, including:

  • Little, Brown & Company
  • New York University (NYU)
  • Bentley Publishers

Career Advising and Mentorship

Whatever your career goals, we’re here to support you. Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success offers career advising, employment opportunities, Harvard alumni mentor connections, and career fairs like the annual on-campus Harvard Humanities, Media, Marketing, and Creative Careers Expo.

Your Harvard University Degree

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Creative Writing and Literature.

Expand Your Connections: the Harvard Alumni Network

As a graduate, you’ll become a member of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association (400,000+ members) and Harvard Extension Alumni Association (29,000+ members).

Harvard is closer than one might think. You can be anywhere and still be part of this world.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid . Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

What can you do with a master’s degree in creative writing and literature?

A master’s degree in creative writing and literature prepares you for a variety of career paths in writing, literature, and communication — it’s up to you to decide where your interests will take you.

You could become a professional writer, editor, literary agent, marketing copywriter, or communications specialist.

You could also go the academic route and bring your knowledge to the classroom to teach creative writing or literature courses.

Is a degree in creative writing and literature worth it?

The value you find in our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program will depend on your unique goals, interests, and circumstances.

The curriculum provides a range of courses that allow you to graduate with knowledge and skills transferable to various industries and careers.

How long does completing the creative writing and literature graduate program take?

Program length is ordinarily anywhere between 2 and 5 years. It depends on your preferred pace and the number of courses you want to take each semester.

For an accelerated journey, we offer year round study, where you can take courses in fall, January, spring, and summer.

While we don’t require you to register for a certain number of courses each semester, you cannot take longer than 5 years to complete the degree.

What skills do you need prior to applying for the creative writing and literature degree program?

Harvard Extension School does not require any specific skills prior to applying, but in general, it’s helpful to have solid reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills if you are considering a creative writing and literature master’s degree.

Initial eligibility requirements can be found on our creative writing and literature master’s degree requirements page .

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous academics and innovative teaching capabilities to those seeking to improve their lives through education. We make Harvard education accessible to lifelong learners from high school to retirement.

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Creative Writing Research: What, How and Why

  • First Online: 23 July 2023

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Creative writing research is actively moving us further toward knowing what creative writing actually is—in terms of our human actions and our responses when doing it. It is approaching such things as completed literary works and author recognition within the activities of creative writing, not mostly as representatives of that practice, and it is paying close attention to the modes, methods and functions of the writerly imagination, the contemporary influence of individual writer environments on writers, to writerly senses of structure and form and our formation and re-formation of writing themes and subjects. We certainly understand creative writing and creative writing research best when we remain true to why creative writing happens, when and where it happens, and how it happens—and creative writing research is doing that, focusing on the actions and the material results as evidence of our actions. Creative writing research has also opened up better communication between our knowledge of creative writing and our teaching of creative writing, with the result that we are improving that teaching, not only in our universities and colleges but also in our schools.

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Creative Writing

Greer Baxter and Mandy Gonzalez

The Program in Creative Writing takes a comprehensive approach to the study of contemporary literature, criticism, and theory from a writer’s perspective, and provides rigorous training in the fundamental practices of creative writing. In our courses, students work with established poets and prose writers towards these pursuits, and both the major and minor in Creative Writing provide ample opportunities for interdisciplinary work across University departments. The program’s commitment to interdisciplinary work and academic rigor, coupled with an emphasis on teaching the elements of creative writing that underlie all genres, accounts for the program's vitality and explains why Creative Writing at Chicago is currently the largest initiative in the humanities for the College. The Program in Creative Writing offers workshops and seminars in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as an increasing number of translation workshops.

Students who graduate with the bachelor of arts in Creative Writing will both be skilled in writing in a major literary genre and have a theoretically informed understanding of the aesthetic, historical, social, and political context of a range of contemporary writing. Students who are not English Language and Literature or Creative Writing majors may complete a minor in English and Creative Writing.

  • Creative Writing in the College Catalog
  • Minor in Creative Writing in the College Catalog
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Do you want to learn how to tell stories or create art through your words? If you want to write poetry, script plays, or write novels, Liberty has creative writing programs that can help you learn the skills you need. You can start with the basics and develop your skills under the teaching and mentorship of teachers who know their craft. But what program is right for you?

Associate Degrees

Liberty’s 100% online Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Creative Writing offers you the opportunity to enhance your writing skills as you prepare for a future career or a bachelor’s degree.

Apply Now   Request Info  

Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor of science in creative writing – christian literature, bachelor of science in creative writing – english.

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – English offers you the chance to develop a deep understanding of the English language.

Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing – Journalism

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – Journalism allows you to develop investigative and reporting abilities and build your portfolio. 

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing offers you advanced training in composition and literature, creative writing, and modern grammar.

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing – Christian Literature can help you hone your writing and critical thinking skills as you explore the works of some of the greatest Christian writers in history.

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing – Creative Writing degree offers advanced training in grammar, technical writing, and storytelling.

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing – Journalism offers you a journalism education that can teach you to write compelling stories and help you pursue exciting writing opportunities.

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Composition will guide you through the fundamentals of writing and grammar and help prepare you to teach composition at the collegiate level.

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Writing can help you craft effective communication using digital media, traditional publishing, and cutting-edge technology as you master advanced grammar and composition.

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Writing – Research Administration and Sponsored Programs blends studies in writing with practical business applications, which can help you become a more marketable job candidate.

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing is designed to help you build on your writing skills with specific workshops dedicated to the craft of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or screenwriting.

Creative Writing

Master’s Degrees

Composition

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Professional Writing – Research Administration and Sponsored Programs

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Writing – Research Administration and Sponsored Programs blends studies in writing with practical business applications, which can help you become a more marketable job candidate.

Creative Writing – Christian Literature

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – Christian Literature allows you to study prominent authors and works of Christian literature of the past and present. 

Creative Writing – English

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – English offers you the chance to develop a deep understanding of the English language.

Creative Writing – Journalism

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – Journalism allows you to develop investigative and reporting abilities and build your portfolio. 

English and Writing

English and Writing – Christian Literature

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing – Christian Literature can help you hone your writing and critical thinking skills as you explore the works of some of the greatest Christian writers in history.

English and Writing – Creative Writing

English and Writing – Journalism

Associate of Arts in Creative Writing

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Apply Now Request Information    

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Creative Writing – English offers you the chance to develop a deep understanding of the English language while sharpening your writing skills.

Bachelor of Science in English and Writing – Creative Writing

Liberty’s 100% online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English and Writing – Creative Writing  offers you advanced training in composition and literature, creative writing, and modern grammar.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Liberty’s 100% online Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing can help you learn new concepts, grow your understanding, and hone your writing skills to their highest form.

Which kind of creative writing program fits my needs?

  • If you don’t have a degree and aren’t ready to commit to a bachelor’s – Liberty’s online Associate of Arts in Creative Writing gives you an entry point into creative writing. Designed as a halfway step to a bachelor’s degree, our A.A. in Creative Writing will cover foundational courses and training that can help you get started while opening the door to a more in-depth Bachelor of Science in English and Writing – Creative Writing after you graduate. 
  • If you want a full bachelor’s degree focused on creative writing and English language – Liberty’s Bachelor of Science in English and Writing – Creative Writing is designed to equip you with a thorough background in English language studies to support your creative writing skills. The skills you learn in this program can also help you pursue teaching or roles in communication and writing for business. 
  • If you already have a bachelor’s degree and want a career in writing – Liberty’s online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing could be the best choice for you. The M.F.A. in Creative Writing is designed to help you refine your craft and gain a mastery in your writing discipline. And because an M.F.A. is considered a terminal degree, earning a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing can open the door to university teaching. 
Karen Kingsbury Center for Creative Writing An exciting part of our creative writing programs is that you will have the opportunity to take courses that were created in partnership with #1 New York Times bestselling author and Christian novelist Karen Kingsbury. Kingsbury has contributed course content to the degrees above, providing firsthand training in all areas of interest. We are proud to partner with her through our Karen Kingsbury Center for Creative Writing .

Potential Career Options with a Creative Writing Degree

  • Book and magazine writer
  • Business communications specialist
  • Creative writing instructor
  • Professional blogger
  • Public relations
  • Publications editor
  • Screenwriter
  • Social media coordinator
  • Website copy editor and writer
  • Writing manager

What Are the Benefits of Studying Creative Writing at Liberty University?

  • We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility . Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank in the top 10% of Niche.com’s best online schools in America . Earning your online creative writing degree from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
  • Liberty University’s state-of-the-art online learning environment offers you a wide variety of learning methods, including simulations, recorded lectures, and digital collaboration tools that will help you engage with your studies and learn practical teaching skills.
  • The majority of tuition for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs has not increased in 9 years. While many other online colleges have raised tuition, Liberty has been able to keep costs low as a nonprofit university.
  • You can complete your online creative writing program in less time than you think, due to our 8-week format and 8 start times per year.

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  • Tuition discounts – $275 per credit hour for graduate courses
  • Additional discount for veterans who serve in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course)

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English (Creative Writing), BA

On this page:.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No

program math intensity general

  • Initial Math Course: MAT 142 - College Mathematics

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map on-campus archive

eAdvisor Tracking Tool

Program Description

The BA in English with a concentration in creative writing focuses on the study and practice of the literary arts, with courses in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

Students gain practical experience through writing workshops and internship opportunities.

The undergraduate program features an outstanding faculty whose many books have received major national and international recognition.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit The College's website for more information and requirements.

Admission to the Creative Writing Concentration (Fiction & Poetry)

Portfolio submission period opens: february 20, 2023, portfolios due: march 17, 2023 by 5:00pm, submit here: spring 2023 creative writing concentration  .

Note: You need to be logged into your ASU Gmail account to connect to the portfolio submission form.  

About the Creative Writing Concentration

The Creative Writing Program encourages all interested students, regardless of their field of study, to join our community of writers through beginning and intermediate workshops in fiction and poetry (ENG 287/ENG 288 , ENG 387/ENG 388), diverse special topics courses (ENG 394/ENG 494), and various, exciting writing events held on campus. 

Interested students*, who have already taken beginning and intermediate workshops, and are committed to continuing their study of Creative Writing, have an opportunity to develop their skills in supportive, highly focused workshops through the Creative Writing Concentration. Instruction in the tradition(s) to which concentration students can aspire and uphold, and from which they may draw inspiration, will be provided by the Creative Writing Program's nationally recognized faculty of writers.

Please note that acceptance into the Creative Writing Concentration is restricted.   Students must submit a portfolio for review and be offered a seat in the advanced workshops. (Please see the "Portfolio Review Guidelines" below.) 

*Students interested in pursuing both fiction and poetry at the 400-level, must check with their academic advisor to ensure that the necessary courses (ENG 487, ENG 488, ENG 498: Fiction, ENG 498: Poetry) will fit their degree plan. Students must submit two portfolios--one in fiction, one in poetry--to be considered for admittance into advanced coursework in both areas. 

Students pursuing the Creative Writing Concentration must either select as their major the bachelor's in English with a concentration in creative writing upon being admitted to ASU or, after entering the university, meet with an English advisor to change to this major and concentration.  Non English-majors will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  • To complete the concentration, English majors who have already declared themselves in the creative writing concentration must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher in their major.
  • Concentration students must complete the two advanced courses in their genre (ENG 487 and ENG 498 in poetry, or ENG 488 and ENG 498 in fiction). Note that enrollment into these courses is restricted. Spaces are limited. Students must submit a portfolio and be selected to move forward.  (See the "Portfolio Review Guidelines" below.)
  • Transfer students must seek advisement as to whether they will be able to successfully fulfill the creative writing concentration requirements.
  • PLEASE NOTE :  Students admitted to begin 400-level coursework through the Fall 2020 Portfolio Review will start their coursework in Spring 2021. ENG 488 (fiction) will be taken in the Spring semester. The capstone course, ENG 498, will be taken in the Fall 2021 semester. ENG 487/488 and ENG 498 may not be taken simultaneously. 
  • The next portfolio review for fiction will be offered in Fall 2022. The next portfolio review for fiction and poetry will be offered in Spring 2023.
  • Students are only allowed to apply for the creative writing concentration twice during their time at ASU.

Portfolio Submission: How to Apply

Submit your completed portfolio online via the link below. Your portfolio should include:

1.     COVER SHEET (Available Online)

2.     CREATIVE WRITING SAMPLE

     a.      Poetry Sample: 5 poems

     b.      Fiction Sample: 1 piece of fiction of at least 5 double-spaced pages and not longer than 10 double-spaced pages

3.     PERSONAL STATEMENT (2 double spaced pages or 500 words)

     a.    Discuss your interest in the relevant genre (poetry or fiction)

     b.     What do you hope to gain from the creative writing concentration

4.     CRAFT ESSAY (2 double spaced pages or 500 words)

     a.     Submit an essay on a single poem or short story focusing an element(s) of craft you learned from the piece, how that craft element(s) works within the poem/story, and  why this aspect of craft is pertinent to your own writing

     b.     Please provide textual examples from the creative piece in your essay

5 .      SUBMIT: SPRING 2023 CREATIVE WRITING CONCENTRATION

        NOTE: You need to be logged into your ASU Gmail account to connect to the portfolio submission form. 

Further Information  

To receive further information about the bachelor's in English with a concentration in creative writing, make an appointment to speak with English undergraduate advisor at 480-965-3168. You may also contact Creative Writing Program Manager, Justin Petropoulos ( [email protected] ), RBH 152.

Portfolio Review Guidelines

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to https://changingmajors.asu.edu for information about how to change a major to this program.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options.

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years. It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

English -->

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs, apply to a program, visit our campus, affording college, tuition calculator, scholarships, financial aid, career outlook.

Degree programs in English prepare students for graduate studies in a number of programs, including English, creative writing, education, law and business. They also lead to a variety of careers in diverse fields. Employers seek those with strong writing, communication and critical thinking skills. Some of the most common professions for English majors are in the fields of:

  • nonprofit service

Graduates often find roles where they spend time:

  • developing web content
  • managing public relations
  • writing professional and technical content

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Writers and Authors

  • Growth: 3.7%
  • Median Salary*: 73150
  • Growth: -4%
  • Median Salary*: 73080

English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary

  • Growth: 1.2%
  • Median Salary*: 74280

Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers

Secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education.

  • Median Salary*: 62360

Public Relations Specialists

  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: 67440

Bright Outlook

Search Marketing Strategists

  • Growth: 13.4%
  • Median Salary*: 68230

Technical Writers

  • Growth: 6.9%
  • Median Salary*: 79960

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Bright Outlook

Global Opportunities

Global experience.

Studying abroad expands students' perspectives by exposing them to new and distinct cultures, communities and people. Students can explore the English language at a deeper level through an extended lens of dialects, literature and terminology in one of more than 300 study abroad programs.

Students can enhance their resumes with the educational experience and heightened cultural competency, communication and critical thinking skills they acquire through study abroad programs.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recommends these study abroad programs for students majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing .

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

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  • Creative Writing

The vital presence of creative writing in the English Department is reflected by our many distinguished authors who teach our workshops. We offer courses each term in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenwriting, playwriting, and television writing. Our workshops are small, usually no more than twelve students, and offer writers an opportunity to focus intensively on one genre. 

Apply to Creative Writing Workshops

Workshops are open by application to Harvard College undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and students from other institutions eligible for cross registration. Submission guidelines for workshops can be found under individual course listings; please do not query instructors.  Review all departmental rules and application instructions before applying.  

Fall 2024 Application Deadline: 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, April 7, 2024. Spring 2025 Application Deadline: TBD

Please visit our course listings for all the Fall 2024 workshops.

Our online submission manager (link below) will open for Fall 2024 applications on Friday, March 22 , 2024.

Students who have questions about the creative writing workshop application process should contact Case Q. Kerns at [email protected] .

submit

Featured Faculty

Teju Cole

Teju Cole  is a novelist, critic, and essayist, and is the first Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice. "Among other works, the boundary-crossing author is known for his debut novel “Open City” (2011), whose early admirers included Harvard professor and New Yorker critic James Wood." 

Faculty Bookshelf

What the world will look like when all the water leaves us by laura van den berg (2009).

What the world will look like when all the water leaves us

Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole (2007/2014)

Every Day is for the Thief

The Isle of Youth by Laura van den Berg (2013)

isle of youth

Place: New Poems by Jorie Graham (2012)

Place: New Poems

Creative Writing Workshops

  • Spring 2024

English CACD. The Art of Criticism

Instructor: Maggie Doherty Wednesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site

This course will consider critical writing about art–literary, visual, cinematic, musical, etc.—as an art in its own right. We will read and discuss criticism from a wide variety of publications, paying attention to the ways outlets and audience shape critical work. The majority of our readings will be from the last few years and will include pieces by Joan Acocella, Andrea Long Chu, Jason Farago, and Carina del Valle Schorske. Students will write several short writing assignments (500-1000 words), including a straight review, during the first half of the semester and share them with peers. During the second half of the semester, each student will write and workshop a longer piece of criticism about a work of art or an artist of their choosing. Students will be expected to read and provide detailed feedback on the work of their peers. Students will revise their longer pieces based on workshop feedback and submit them for the final assignment of the class. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 7) Supplemental Application Information:  Please write a letter of introduction (1-2 pages) giving a sense of who you are, your writing experience, and your current goals for your writing. Please also describe your relationship to the art forms and/or genres you're interested in engaging in the course. You may also list any writers or publications whose criticism you enjoy reading. Please also include a 3-5-page writing sample of any kind of prose writing. This could be an academic paper or it could be creative fiction or nonfiction.

English CACW. Advanced Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Paul Yoon TBD | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Advanced fiction workshop for students who have already taken a workshop at Harvard or elsewhere. The goal of the class is to continue your journey as a writer. You will be responsible for participating in discussions on the assigned texts, the workshop, engaging with the work of your colleagues, and revising your work. Supplemental Application Information:   * Please note: previous creative writing workshop experience required. * Please submit ONLY a cover letter telling me your previous creative writing workshop experience, either at Harvard or elsewhere; then tell me something you are passionate about and something you want to be better at; and, lastly, tell me why of all classes you want to take this one this semester. Again, please no writing samples.

English CBBR. Intermediate Poetry: Workshop

Instructor:  Josh Bell   Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Barker 018 Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site

Initially, students can expect to read, discuss, and imitate the strategies of a wide range of poets writing in English; to investigate and reproduce prescribed forms and poetic structures; and to engage in writing exercises meant to expand the conception of what a poem is and can be. As the course progresses, reading assignments will be tailored on an individual basis, and an increasing amount of time will be spent in discussion of student work. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 7)

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.

English CCEP. Ekphrastic Poetry: Workshop

Instructor: Tracy K. Smith Wednesday, 3:00-5:45 pm | Location: Lamont 401 Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site What can a poem achieve when it contemplates or even emulates a work of art in another medium? In this workshop, we'll read and write poems that engage with other art forms--and we'll test out what a foray into another artistic practice allows us to carry back over into the formal methods and behaviors of poetry. With poems by Keats, Rilke, Auden, Hughes, and Brooks, as well as Kevin Young, Evie Shockley, Ama Codjoe and other contemporary voices. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Saturday, August 26) Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a writing sample of 5-10 poems and an application letter explaining your interest in this course.

English CCFC. Poetry Workshop: Form & Content

Instructor: Tracy K. Smith Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: Sever 112 Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site

In this workshop, we’ll look closely at the craft-based choices poets make, and track the effects they have upon what we as readers are made to think and feel. How can implementing similar strategies better prepare us to engage the questions making up our own poetic material? We’ll also talk about content. What can poetry reveal about the ways our interior selves are shaped by public realities like race, class, sexuality, injustice and more? Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Saturday, August 26)   

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a writing sample of 5-10 poems and an application letter explaining your interest in this course.

English CCIJ. Intermediate Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Jesse McCarthy Thursday, 3:00-5:45 pm | Location: Barker 269 Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site This is an intermediate course in the art of writing literary fiction. Previous experience with workshopping writing is encouraged but not required. The emphasis of the course will be learning how to read literature as a writer, with special attention given to the short story, novella, or short novel. We will read these works from the perspective of the writer as craftsperson and of the critic seeking in good faith to understand and describe a new aesthetic experience. We will be concerned foremost with how literary language works, with describing the effects of different kinds of sentences, different uses of genre, tone, and other rhetorical strategies. Together, we will explore our responses to examples of literature from around the world and from all periods, as well as to the writing you will produce and share with the class. As a member of a writing community, you should be prepared to respectfully read and respond to the work of others—both the work of your peers and that of the published writers that we will explore together. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Saturday, August 26) Supplemental Application Information:  This course is by application only but there are no prerequisites for this course and previous experience in a writing workshop is not required . In your application please submit a short letter explaining why you are interested in this class. You might tell me a bit about your relationship to literature, your encounter with a specific author, book, or even a scene or character from a story or novel. Please also include a writing sample of 2-5 pages (5 pages max!) of narrative prose fiction.

English CCFS. Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Teju Cole Spring 2024: Tuesday, 6:00-8:45pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site Spring 2025: TBD This reading and writing intensive workshop is for students who want to learn to write literary fiction. The goal of the course would be for each student to produce two polished short stories. Authors on the syllabus will probably include James Joyce, Eudora Welty, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Diane Williams.

Supplemental Application Information:   Please submit a cover letter saying what you hope to get out of the workshop. In the cover letter, mention three works of fiction that matter to you and why. In addition, submit a 400–500 word sample of your fiction; the sample can be self-contained or a section of a longer work.

English CLPG. Art of Sportswriting

Instructor: Louisa Thomas Spring 2024: Tuesday, 9:00-11:45am | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site Spring 2025: TBD

In newsrooms, the sports section is sometimes referred to as the “toy department” -- frivolous and unserious, unlike the stuff of politics, business, and war. In this course, we will take the toys seriously. After all, for millions of people, sports and other so-called trivial pursuits (video games, chess, children’s games, and so on) are a source of endless fascination. For us, they will be a source of stories about human achievements and frustrations. These stories can involve economic, social, and political issues. They can draw upon history, statistics, psychology, and philosophy. They can be reported or ruminative, formally experimental or straightforward, richly descriptive or tense and spare. They can be fun. Over the course of the semester, students will read and discuss exemplary profiles, essays, articles, and blog posts, while also writing and discussing their own. While much (but not all) of the reading will come from the world of sports, no interest in or knowledge about sports is required; our focus will be on writing for a broad audience.  Supplemental Application Information:  To apply, please write a letter describing why you want to take the course and what you hope to get out of it. Include a few examples of websites or magazines you like to read, and tell me briefly about one pursuit -- football, chess, basketball, ballet, Othello, crosswords, soccer, whatever -- that interests you and why.

English CALR. Advanced Screenwriting: Workshop

Instructor: Musa Syeed Spring 2024: Wednesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBA Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site Spring 2025: TBD

The feature-length script is an opportunity to tell a story on a larger scale, and, therefore, requires additional preparation. In this class, we will move from writing a pitch, to a synopsis, to a treatment/outline, to the first 10 pages, to the first act of a feature screenplay. We will analyze produced scripts and discuss various elements of craft, including research, writing layered dialogue, world-building, creating an engaging cast of characters. As an advanced class, we will also look at ways both mainstream and independent films attempt to subvert genre and structure. Students will end the semester with a first act (20-30 pages) of their feature, an outline, and strategy to complete the full script.

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample. Screenplays are preferred, but fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays are acceptable as well. Also, please write a short note to introduce yourself. Include a couple films/filmmakers that have inspired you, your goals for the class, as well as any themes/subject matter/ideas you might be interested in exploring in your writing for film.

English CNFR. Creative Nonfiction: Workshop

Instructor: Darcy Frey Fall 2024: Wednesday, 3:00-5:45 pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. Course Site Spring 2025: TBD

Whether it takes the form of literary journalism, essay, memoir, or environmental writing, creative nonfiction is a powerful genre that allows writers to break free from the constraints commonly associated with nonfiction prose and reach for the breadth of thought and feeling usually accomplished only in fiction: the narration of a vivid story, the probing of a complex character, the argument of an idea, or the evocation of a place. Students will work on several short assignments to hone their mastery of the craft, then write a longer piece that will be workshopped in class and revised at the end of the term. We will take instruction and inspiration from published authors such as Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Ariel Levy, Alexander Chee, and Virginia Woolf. This is a workshop-style class intended for undergraduate and graduate students at all levels of experience. No previous experience in English Department courses is required. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 7)

Supplemental Application Information:   Please write a substantive letter of introduction describing who you are as writer at the moment and where you hope to take your writing; what experience you may have had with creative/literary nonfiction; what excites you about nonfiction in particular; and what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Additionally, please submit 3-5 pages of creative/literary nonfiction (essay, memoir, narrative journalism, etc, but NOT academic writing) or, if you have not yet written much nonfiction, an equal number of pages of narrative fiction.

English CKR. Introduction to Playwriting: Workshop

Instructor: Sam Marks TBD | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students This workshop is an introduction to writing for the stage through intensive reading and in-depth written exercises. Each student will explore the fundamentals and possibilities of playwriting by generating short scripts and completing a one act play with an eye towards both experimental and traditional narrative styles. Readings will examine various ways of creating dramatic art and include work from contemporary playwrights such as Ayad Aktar, Clare Barron, Aleshea Harris, Young Jean Lee, and Taylor Mac, as well established work from Edward Albbe, Caryl Churchill, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Harold Pinter. Supplemental Application Information:  No experience in writing the dramatic form is necessary. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable and encouraged). Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.

English CACF. Get Real: The Art of Community-Based Film

Instructor: Musa Syeed Wednesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 student Course Site

“I’ve often noticed that we are not able to look at what we have in front of us,” the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami said, “unless it’s inside a frame.” For our communities confronting invisibility and erasure, there’s an urgent need for new frames. In this workshop, we’ll explore a community-engaged approach to documentary and fiction filmmaking, as we seek to see our world more deeply. We’ll begin with screenings, craft exercises, and discussions around authorship and social impact. Then we each will write, develop, and shoot a short film over the rest of the semester, building off of intentional community engagement. Students will end the class with written and recorded materials for a rough cut. Basic equipment and technical training will be provided.

Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 7)

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a brief letter explaining why you're interested to take this class. Please also discuss what participants/communities you might be interested in engaging with for your filmmaking projects. For your writing sample, please submit 3-5 pages of your creative work from any genre (screenwriting, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, etc.)

English CAFR. Advanced Fiction Workshop: Writing this Present Life

Instructor: Claire Messud Thursday, 3:00-5:45 pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site Intended for students with prior fiction-writing and workshop experience, this course will concentrate on structure, execution and revision. Exploring various strands of contemporary and recent literary fiction – writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard, Rachel Cusk, Chimamanda Adichie, Douglas Stuart, Ocean Vuong, etc – we will consider how fiction works in our present moment, with emphasis on a craft perspective. Each student will present to the class a published fiction that has influenced them. The course is primarily focused on the discussion of original student work, with the aim of improving both writerly skills and critical analysis. Revision is an important component of this class: students will workshop two stories and a revision of one of these. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 7)

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit 3-5 pages of prose fiction, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in the course; what experience you’ve had writing, both in previous workshops and independently; what your literary goals and ambitions are. Please tell me about some of your favorite narratives – fiction, non-fiction, film, etc: why they move you, and what you learn from them.

English CAKV. Fiction Workshop: Writing from the First-Person Point of View

Instructor:  Andrew Krivak Tuesday, 9:00-11:45 1m | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site This course is a workshop intended for students who are interested in writing longer form narratives from the first-person point of view. The “I” at the center of any novel poses a perspective that is all at once imaginatively powerful and narratively problematic, uniquely insightful and necessarily unreliable. We will read from roughly twelve novels written in the first-person, from Marilynne Robinson and W.G. Sebald, to Valeria Luiselli and Teju Cole, and ask questions (among others) of why this form, why this style? And, as a result, what is lost and what is realized in the telling? Primarily, however, students will write. Our goal will be to have a student’s work read and discussed twice in class during the semester. I am hoping to see at least 35-40 pages of a project —at any level of completion—at the end of term.  Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 7) Supplemental Application Information:  Please write a substantive letter telling me why you’re interested in taking this class, what writers (classical and contemporary) you admire and why, and if there’s a book you have read more than once, a movie you have seen more than once, a piece of music you listen to over and over, not because you have to but because you want to. Students of creative nonfiction are also welcome to apply.

English CCSS. Fiction Workshop: The Art of the Short Story

Instructor: Laura van den Berg Tuesday, 12:00-2:45 pm | Location: TBD Enrollment: Limited to 12 students Course Site This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction, with an emphasis on the contemporary short story. How can we set about creating “big” worlds in compact spaces? What unique doors can the form of the short story open? The initial weeks will focus on exploratory exercises and the study of published short stories and craft essays. Later, student work will become the primary text as the focus shifts to workshop discussion. Authors on the syllabus will likely include Ted Chiang, Lauren Groff, Carmen Maria Machado, and Octavia Butler. This workshop welcomes writers of all levels of experience. Apply via Submittable  (deadline: 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 7) Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a letter of introduction. I’d like to know a little about why you are drawn to studying fiction; what you hope to get out of the workshop and what you hope to contribute; and one thing you are passionate about outside writing / school. Please also include a very brief writing sample (2-3 pages). The sample can be in any genre (it does not have to be from a work of fiction). 

Write an Honors Creative Thesis

Students may apply to write a senior thesis or senior project in creative writing, although only English concentrators can be considered. Students submit applications in early March of their junior year, including first-term juniors who are out of phase. The creative writing faculty considers the proposal, along with the student's overall performance in creative writing and other English courses, and notifies students about its decision in early mid-late March. Those applications are due, this coming year, on TBA . 

Students applying for a creative writing thesis or project must have completed at least one course in creative writing at Harvard before they apply. No student is guaranteed acceptance. It is strongly suggested that students acquaint themselves with the requirements and guidelines well before the thesis application is due. The creative writing director must approve any exceptions to the requirements, which must be made in writing by Monday, February 7, 2022. Since the creative writing thesis and project are part of the English honors program, acceptance to write a creative thesis is conditional upon the student continuing to maintain a 3.40 concentration GPA. If a student’s concentration GPA drops below 3.40 after the spring of the junior year, the student may not be permitted to continue in the honors program.

Joint concentrators may apply to write creative theses, but we suggest students discuss the feasibility of the project well before applications are due. Not all departments are open to joint creative theses.

Students who have questions about the creative writing thesis should contact the program’s Director, Sam Marks .

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Creative Writing Concentration

Hone your personal creative voice and study the art of creatively stringing words together to create meaning, inspire action, and tell a story – from social media to children’s books.

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Develop who you are as a writer.

If you don’t go a day without writing—journal entries, blog posts, poetry, impassioned emails, or witty social media updates to friends—the Creative Writing concentration offers a rewarding way for you to develop the practice.

This concentration is designed for students inspired to pursue their own artistic vision. You’ll study the craft and discipline of writing, learn how writers create their unique voices, and explore world literature. You’ll have opportunities to study—and participate in—personal and group performance at Champlain and beyond. With our Creative Writing concentration, you will develop your individual style and add versatile skills to a toolbox that can be used in a variety of career settings. Through courses in this concentration, you can:

  • Pursue your artistic vision through developing your unique voice.
  • Study contemporary and historical writing from various world regions.
  • Build your portfolio so you can show the world what you can do.

Courses in the Creative Writing Concentration

All Creative Media students are required to select a Primary Area of Focus and a Complementary Area of Focus. Shown here is the curriculum for the 24-credit Primary Area of Focus. If you choose Creative Writing as a 12-credit Complementary Area of Focus, requirements will differ from those shown.

8 courses through at least the 300 level are required for Creative Writing Primary Focus Area

Choose at least one of the following:

  • WRT 220: Intermediate Creative Writing
  • WRT 221: Intermediate Poetry Workshop
  • WRT 226: Intermediate Fiction Workshop
  • WRT 237: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

Primary area electives:

  • WRT 180: Introduction to Songwriting
  • WRT 200: Fundamentals of Journalism
  • WRT 235: Writing Children’s Literature
  • WRT 236: Writing About Food
  • WRT 280: Reading & Writing in the Wilderness
  • WRT 324: Advanced Poetry Workshop
  • WRT 325: Advanced Fiction Workshop
  • WRT 327: Seminar in Playwriting
  • WRT 337: Advanced Creative Nonfiction
  • WRT 346: Publishing in the 21st Century
  • FLM 128: Screenwriting I
  • FLM 328: Screenwriting II

WRT 120 Creative Writing, Introduction to

Introduction to Creative Writing explores techniques used by poets and fiction writers in their crafts. Students will analyze examples of published works and will produce portfolios of original works. Workshop activity is required; students must share their work with the entire class.

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Creative Writing: What It Is and Why It Matters

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on Published: January 13, 2023  - Last updated: January 15, 2023

Categories Writing

Writing can be intimidating for many people, but creative writing doesn’t have to be. Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows writers to create stories, characters, and unique settings. But what exactly is creative writing? And why is it important in today’s society? Let’s explore this further.

How We Define Creative Writing

Creative writing is any form where writers can express their thoughts and feelings imaginatively. This type of writing allows authors to draw on their imagination when creating stories and characters and play with language and structure. While there are no boundaries in creative writing, most pieces will contain dialogue, description, and narrative elements.

The Importance of Creative Writing

Creative writing is important because:

  • It helps us express ourselves in ways we may not be able to do with other forms of communication.
  • It allows us to explore our creativity and think outside the box.
  • It can help us better understand our emotions by exploring them through storytelling or poetry.
  • Writing creatively can also provide much-needed escapism from everyday life, allowing us to escape into a world of our creation.
  • Creative writing helps us connect with others by sharing our experiences through stories or poems they can relate to. This way, we can gain insight into other people’s lives while giving them insight into ours.

Creative Writing: A Path to Mental and Emotional Wellness

Writing is more than just a way to express your thoughts on paper. It’s a powerful tool that can be used as a form of therapy. Creative writing has been shown to improve emotional and mental well-being.

Through creative writing, we can gain insight into our emotions, develop self-expression and communication skills, cultivate empathy and understanding of others, and boost our imagination and creativity.

Let’s examine how creative writing can relieve stress and emotional catharsis.

Stress Relief and Emotional Catharsis

Writing has the power to reduce stress levels significantly. Writing about our experiences or about things that are causing us anxiety or distress helps us to release those complicated feelings constructively. By expressing ourselves through creative writing, we can work through the emotions associated with stressful situations without having to confront them directly.

This is especially helpful for people who struggle to share their emotions verbally or in person.

Improved Communication and Self-Expression

Creative writing is also beneficial for improving communication skills. Through creative writing, we can explore our thoughts and feelings more intensely than by speaking them aloud. This allows us to think more clearly about what we want to say before actually saying it out loud or in written form, which leads to improved self-expression overall.

Additionally, writing out our thoughts before speaking aloud allows us to articulate ourselves better when communicating with others—which is essential for healthy personal and professional relationships.

Increased Empathy and Understanding of Others

Through creative writing, we can also increase our empathy towards others by exploring different perspectives on various topics that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable for us—such as racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.—and allowing ourselves the opportunity to see the situation from someone else’s point of view without judgment or bias. This helps us become better communicators and more understanding individuals overall.

The Professional Benefits of Creative Writing

Creative writing is a powerful tool that can help you communicate better and more effectively in the professional world. It can also help you develop various skills that prove invaluable in many industries. Whether you’re looking to build your résumé or improve your communication, creative writing can effectively achieve both.

Let’s take a closer look at how creative writing can benefit your career.

Preparing Students for Careers in Writing, Editing, and Publishing

Creative writing is the perfect foundation for anyone interested in pursuing a career in writing, editing, or publishing. It teaches students the basics of grammar and composition while allowing them to express their ideas in imaginative ways.

Creative writing classes also allow students to learn from professionals who have experience as editors, agents, and publishers. They can use this knowledge to learn creative writing, refine their craft and gain valuable experience before entering the job market.

Improving Skills in Storytelling and Marketing for Various Careers

Creative writing teaches students to think critically about stories and craft compelling narratives that draw readers in. This skill is precious for those who wish to pursue careers outside traditional writing roles—such as marketing or advertising—where storytelling is key.

People who understand the fundamentals of creative writing will be able to create persuasive copy that resonates with readers and effectively conveys a message.

Enhancing Team Collaboration and Leadership Skills

Creative writing isn’t just about expressing yourself through words; it also provides an opportunity to practice working collaboratively with others on projects. Many creative writing classes require students to work together on group projects, which helps them develop essential teamwork skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

As they work together on these projects, they will also gain confidence in their ability to lead teams effectively—an invaluable asset no matter what industry they pursue after graduation.

Uncovering the Power of Creative Writing

Creative writing has become an increasingly powerful force in shaping our society. Creative writing has many uses, from preserving cultural heritage to promoting social change.

Preserving Cultural Heritage with Creative Writing

Creative writing has long been used to preserve and share cultural heritage stories. This is done through fictional stories or poetry that explore a particular culture or group’s history, values, and beliefs. By weaving these stories in an engaging way, writers can bring a culture’s history and traditions to life for readers worldwide. This helps bridge cultural gaps by providing insight into what makes each culture unique.

Promoting Social Change & Activism with Creative Writing

Creative writing can also be used for activism and social change. Writers can craft stories that help promote awareness about important issues such as poverty, race relations, gender equality, climate change, and more.

With the power of words, writers can inspire readers to take action on these issues and work towards creating positive change in their communities.

Through creative writing, writers can raise awareness about important topics while fostering empathy toward individuals who may be facing difficult or challenging situations.

Fostering Creativity & Innovation with Creative Writing

Finally, creative writing can foster creativity and innovation in various fields. For example, businesses can use creative copywriting techniques to create compelling content that captures the attention of customers or potential investors.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can use storytelling techniques when pitching their ideas or products to potential partners or investors to make their cases more persuasive and memorable.

By harnessing the power of words through creative writing techniques, businesses can create content that resonates with their target audience while inspiring them to take action on whatever message they’re trying to convey. It often aids the overall creative process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of creative writing.

Creative writing has many benefits, both for the writer and the reader. For the writer, it can be therapeutic, helping them to explore their emotions and better understand themselves. It can also be used as entertainment or communication, allowing them to share their ideas with the world. For the reader, creative writing can provide enjoyment, escapism, and insights into the human condition.

How can I improve my creative writing skills?

There are several ways you can improve your creative writing skills. Firstly, make sure you allow yourself time to write regularly. Use a writing prompt to inspire a short story. Secondly, read as much as you can; great writers are also great readers. Thirdly, experiment with different styles and genres to find one that suits you best. Fourthly, join a writers’ group, writing workshop, or creative writing program to get feedback from other writers. Finally, keep a journal to track your progress and reflect on your work as a creative writer.

What is the importance of imagery in creative writing?

Imagery is an important element of creative writing, as it helps to create a more vivid picture for the reader. By using sensory and descriptive language, writers can transport readers into their stories and help them relate to their characters or themes. Imagery can bring a scene alive with detail and evoke emotion by helping readers create strong visual images in their minds. Furthermore, imagery can help make stories more memorable by giving readers a deeper connection with the characters or setting.

What are the elements of creative writing?

The elements of creative writing include plot, character, dialogue, setting, theme, and point of view. The plot is the structure or main storyline, while the character is the personage involved in this story. Dialogue includes conversations between characters to give insight into their emotions and relationships. Setting refers to the place or time in which a story takes place, while theme explores deeper meanings behind a story’s narrative. Finally, point of view defines how readers experience a story through first-person or third-person omniscient narration.

What’s the difference between creative writing and other types of writing?

The main difference between creative writing and other types of writing is that it allows the writer to create their own story, characters, settings, and themes. Creative writing also encourages writers to be inventive with their style and use descriptive language to evoke emotion or bring stories alive in readers’ minds. Other academic or technical writing types typically involve more research-based information and are usually more objective in their presentation. Additionally, most forms of non-creative writing will have stricter rules regarding grammar, structure, and syntax.

What is the golden rule of creative writing?

The golden rule of creative writing is to show, not tell. It’s the core creative writing skill. When it comes to creative writing, it’s essential to use descriptive language that immerses readers in the story and allows them to experience the events through their emotions and imaginations. This can be done through metaphors, similes, sensory language, and vivid imagery.

How important is creativity in writing?

Creativity is essential in writing as it allows writers to craft a unique story and evoke emotion from the reader. Creativity can bring stories alive with fresh perspectives and exciting plot lines while creating an escape for readers and giving them more profound insights into the human condition. Writers who combine creativity with technical aspects such as grammar, structure, language usage, and flow will create pieces that capture their audience’s attention and provide an enjoyable reading experience.

Journal of Creative Writing Studies

Home > JCWS

Journal of Creative Writing Studies is a peer reviewed, open access journal. We publish research that examines the teaching, practice, theory, and history of creative writing. This scholarship makes use of theories and methodologies from a variety of disciplines. We believe knowledge is best constructed in an open conversation among diverse voices and multiple perspectives. Therefore, our editors actively seek to include work from marginalized and underrepresented scholars. Journal of Creative Writing Studies is dedicated to the idea that humanities research ought to be accessible and available to all.

Journal of Creative Writing Studies is a publication of Creative Writing Studies Organization (CWSO), which also hosts the annual Creative Writing Studies Conference .

To comment on any of our articles, please visit our facebook page and find the related post.

Current Issue: Volume 9, Issue 1 (2024)

Research: qualitative and quantitative.

Analysis of Narrative Arcs of College Writers’ Creative Writing: Implications for Engaging Creative Writing Across the Curriculum Justin Nicholes

Creative Writing in a University Bridging Program for Underprivileged STEM Students GLEN RETIEF, Yolandi Woest, and Nosipho Mthethwa

"Give 'em Something to Talk About: Love, Generosity, and Wonder in the Portrait of the Artist Workshop" Florence Gonsalves and Matthew Vollmer

“A Book of Many Rooms”: Joshua Bennett as Personal Tour Guide through Decades of Spoken Word Poetry Michael Baumann

The Making of Instinct: A Review of Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems Mitchell James

Craft and Conscience: Writing and Social Justice Janelle Adsit

An Essential Guide to an Invisible Art: A Review of The Invisible Art of Literary Editing Jennifer Pullen

Creative Writing and the Mind/Body Connection

Body and Art as Message: an Experience with Chronic Pain, Writing, and the Mind-Body Connection Mitchell R. James

100 Prompts For Healing used in the Treatment of Addiction Eric A. Kreuter Ph.D.

Teaching Poetry to Med Students? A Conversation with Owen Lewis and Abriana Jetté Owen W. Lewis M.D. and Abriana Jette

A Proposal: Healing Impacts of Writing Groups on Cancer Survivors Cassandra M. Normand

Afterword and After the Ward: The Poetry Cure Abriana Jette and Margarita Sverdlova

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Creative and Life Writing

Module information>.

This course is designed as a progression of the concepts and practices introduced in Level 4 ‘Introduction to Creative and Life Writing.

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The course will help you to further develop an awareness of various – more sophisticated – contexts into which you write; and different techniques that can be used to draft, edit and prepare your work for eventual submission.

The course examines creative writing in its literary contexts, using texts that serve to best represent the fields of short fiction, poetry and life writing, providing you with the opportunity to survey and understand the contemporary canon. This course not only ties your writing practice very closely to the act of reading, but also begins to consider the reader’s role in the craft.

Mode of assessment: Coursework submitted through the VLE.

Prerequisite: The course Introduction to Creative and Life Writing [EN1022-03] is a prerequisite for this course.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should:

  • recognise the practical skills and techniques required when creating, drafting, editing and revising creative work.
  • understand the nuanced differences between three distinct kinds of writing (short fiction, poetry, and prose and verse life writing) and some of their literary contexts.
  • engage with literary texts studied on the programme as a reader and as a writer.
  • practise writing short fiction, poetry, and a piece of life writing to a standard that reflects attention to revision and editing.
  • independently develop an extended writing project in one of these three kinds of writing, incorporating feedback.
  • reflect critically and meaningfully on your own writing practice, charting and articulating your own progression from Level 4 to Level 5.
  • identify more fully the type of writing you wish to pursue in the future.

Essential reading

Among texts and authors which students may choose to study are:

Essential literary texts

  • *Connell, J. The Cow Book . (London: Granta, 2019) [ISBN 9781783784189] or The Farmer’s Son excerpt from Granta [Granta subscription required to access full excerpt.]
  • Davis, L. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis . London: Penguin, 2014) [ISBN 9780241969137]. [OL]
  • Khalvati, M. ‘Motherhood’ from The Meanest Flower. (Manchester: Carcanet, 2007) [ISBN 9781857548686]. [VLE]
  • Olds, S. The Father . (New York: Knopf, 1999) [ISBN 9780679740025]; (London: Jonathan Cape, 2009) [ISBN 9788022409025]; (London: Secker and Warburg, 1993) [ISBN 9780436339523]. [The Knopf edition is available in the OL. Other editions are indicated as alternatives.] [OL]
  • Sharma, A. A Life of Adventure and Delight . (New York: W.W. Norton, 2017) [ISBN 9780393285345]. [VLE]

Essential critical texts

  • Anderson, L. and D. Neale’s Writing Fiction . (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009) [ISBN 9780415461559]. [OL]
  • *Bell, J. and P. Magrs The Creative Writing Coursebook : Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry. (London: Macmillan, 2001) [ISBN 9780333782255].
  • Cline, S. and C. Angier The Arvon Book of Life Writing : Writing Biography, Autobiography and Memoir. (London: Methuen Drama, 2010) [ISBN 9781408122716]. [OL]
  • *Karr, M. The Art of Memoir . (New York: Harper Perennial, 2016) [ISBN 978006222307].
  • *Strand, M. and E. Boland The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. (New York: Norton, 2001) [ISBN 9780393321784].
  • Wainwright, J. Poetry: The Basics . (New York: Routledge, 2016) 3rd edition [ISBN 9781138823365]. [OL]
  • Wood, J. How Fiction Works . (London: Vintage, 2009) [ISBN 9781845950934]. [OL]

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study of creative writing

BD Divinity

Advanced creative and life writing, new testament greek: language and texts, new testament theology: texts in english.

Yellowlees Douglas Ph.D.

The One Method That Changes Your—and All Students’—Writing

Science-based writing methods can achieve dramatic results..

Posted May 14, 2024 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

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  • A systematic writing framework offers a method for dramatically improving the teaching of writing.
  • This method received only limited uptake, despite high-profile research publications and textbooks.
  • A focus on writing style might have limited the method's impacts.

Andy Barbour, Envato

I remember spending hours commenting painstakingly on my students’ papers when I was a graduate student teaching in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. My students loved our classes, and they filled my sections and gave me terrific course evaluations. Yet I could see that their writing failed to change significantly over the course of the semester. I ended up feeling as if I should refund their money, haunted by the blunt instruments we had to teach writing.

As I’ve learned from directing five writing programs at three different universities, methods matter. When I reviewed comments on papers from instructors who taught in my programs, I discovered that the quantity and quality of comments on students’ papers made only a slight impact on writing outcomes. For instance, one notoriously lazy instructor took several weeks to return assignments and only used spelling and grammar checkers to automate comments. But his conscientious colleague made dozens of sharp observations about students’ arguments, paragraphs, and sentences. However, Mr. Conscientious’ students improved perhaps only 10% over Mr. Minimalist’s students. Even then, the differences stemmed from basic guidelines Mr. Conscientious insisted his students write to, which included providing context sentences at the outset of their essay introductions.

Educators have also poured resources into teaching writing, with increasing numbers of hours dedicated to teaching writing across primary, secondary, and higher education . Yet studies continue to find writing skills inadequate . In higher education, most universities require at least a year of writing-intensive courses, with many universities also requiring writing across the curriculum or writing in the disciplines to help preserve students’ writing skills. However, writing outcomes have remained mostly unchanged .

While pursuing my doctorate, I dedicated my research to figuring out how writing worked. As a graduate student also teaching part-time, I was an early convert to process writing. I also taught those ancient principles of logos, ethos, and pathos, as well as grammar and punctuation. Nevertheless, these frameworks only created a canvas for students’ writing. What was missing: how writers should handle words, sentence structure, and relationships between sentences.

Yet researchers published the beginnings of a science-based writing method over 30 years ago. George Gopen, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams created a framework for identifying how to maximize the clarity, coherence, and continuity of writing. In particular, Gopen and Swan (1990) created a methodology for making scientific writing readable . This work should have been a revelation to anyone teaching in or directing a writing program. But, weirdly, comparatively few writing programs or faculty embraced this work, despite Williams, Colomb, and Gopen publishing both research and textbooks outlining the method and process.

Peculiarly, this framework—represented by Williams’ Style series of textbooks and Gopen’s reader expectation approach—failed to become standard in writing courses, likely because of two limitations. First, both Gopen and Williams hewed to a relativistic stance on writing methods, noting that rule-flouting often creates a memorable style. This stance created a raft of often-contradictory principles for writing. For example, Williams demonstrated that beginning sentences with There is or There are openings hijacked the clarity of sentences, then argued writers should use There is or There are to shunt important content into sentence emphasis positions, where readers recall content best. Second, these researchers failed to tie this writing framework to the wealth of data in psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience , or cognitive psychology on how our reading brains process written English. For instance, textbooks written by these three principal researchers avoid any mention of why emphasis positions exist at the ends of sentences and paragraphs—despite the concept clearly originating in the recency effect. This limitation may stem from the humanities’ long-held antipathy to the idea that writing is a product, rather than a process. Or even that science-based methods can help teachers and programs measure the effectiveness of writing, one reason why university First-Year Writing programs have failed to improve students’ writing in any measurable way.

Nevertheless, when you teach students how our reading brains work, you create a powerful method for rapidly improving their writing—in any course that requires writing and at all levels of education. Students can grasp how writing works as a system and assess the costs and benefits of decisions writers face, even as they choose their first words. This method also works powerfully to help students immediately understand how, for instance, paragraph heads leverage priming effects to shape readers’ understanding of paragraph content.

Using this method, I and my colleagues have helped students use a single writing assignment to secure hundreds of jobs, win millions in grant funding, and advance through the ranks in academia. However, we’ve also used the same method without modifications in elementary and secondary classrooms to bolster students’ writing by as much as three grade levels in a single year.

Perhaps the time has arrived for this well-kept secret to revolutionizing student writing outcomes to begin making inroads into more writing classrooms.

Gopen, G. D. and J. A. Swan (1990). "The Science of Scientific Writing." American Scientist 78(6): 550-558.

Gopen, George. The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader’s Perspective . Pearson, 2004.

Gopen, George. Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader’s Perspective . Pearson, 2004.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace . University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace . Harper Collins, 1994.

Williams, Joseph. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace . Longman, 2002.

Yellowlees Douglas Ph.D.

Jane Yellowlees Douglas, Ph.D. , is a consultant on writing and organizations. She is also the author, with Maria B. Grant, MD, of The Biomedical Writer: What You Need to Succeed in Academic Medicine .

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At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives.

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“The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China” by Jin Feng

Hua-ling Nieh and Paul Engle (via OSU MCLC Resource Center): instrumental in the development of the Writing Programs at the University of Iowa

“W hat happens when a US cultural institution is imported to China, the purported chief rival of the United States in the twenty-first century?” asks Jin Feng in The Transpacific Flow , a short 100-page study of MFA programs in China.

What indeed? The framing implies some relation between creative writing programs and not just literature but also geopolitics. Whether there really is, it’s clear that at least some of the powers-that-be believe there to be. Feng writes:

The expansion of US creative writing programs benefited from Cold War initiatives such as the GI Bill and the National Defense Education Act, issued by the US federal government to subsidize the expansion of American universities to compete with the Soviet Union. Moreover, their pedagogy was formulated against the purportedly collectivist and “propagandist” Soviet ideology by emphasizing the individual over the collective and the concrete over the abstract.

Feng’s points of reference here are the well-known Iowa Writers’ Workshop and International Writing Program, both at the University of Iowa. Chinese writers started attending almost as soon as this was possible: Wang Anyi attended more than forty years ago in 1983.

An internationally acclaimed program that provided one of the rare and earliest opportunities for Chinese writers to reengage with the West after thirty years of isolation, it also roused attention from the two national governments and put them on high alert, as both viewed the program as a form of soft power.

Feng ascribes the subsequent development of similar programs in China also to a political impetus:

Half a century later, Chinese writing programs multiplied, thanks to a “rising” China’s initiative to mass-produce high-quality cultural workers and hence give the nation a boost in its bid for cultural as well as economic prominence, and its drive to realize its ambitious goal of “Made in China 2025” in both economic and cultural arenas …

although the two don’t seem quite parallel.

The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China, Jin Feng (Columbia University Press, Association for Asian Studies, June 2024)

The question how American and Chinese institutions of higher learning are related and interact was asked more broadly in William C Kirby’s Empires of Ideas: Creating the Modern University from Germany to America to China . The most illuminating aspects of The Transpacific Flow are perhaps not so much these broader issues, but some of the details, of which the linkage between American MFA programs and Cold War politics is just one. Another is that China has imported some of the peculiar hierarchies of America academia long with the programs:

Today, Chinese universities typically require a PhD degree as a minimum qualification when hiring faculty members, and they do not accept an MFA in creative writing as a terminal degree that fulfills that requirement.

The efficacy of such programs is questioned in China as it is elsewhere: Jeng’s sources

are not unanimously confident that writing programs can produce writers. Some successes have emerged in the decade and a half since the first MFA in creative writing was established in China, yet, as some facetiously put it, only eggs can be hatched, and no stones can be turned into chickens no matter how good the incubator is.

One particularly interesting thread involves the baleful effects of the centrality of the English-language:

Today, English still dominates as the language of global communication and translation, while certain Western-centric “universal” criteria of good writing continue to inform the definition of literature worthy of global recognition. Meanwhile, Chinese writers and intellectuals are enthusiastically pursuing the project of building creative writing programs at Chinese universities based on their experiences with the American-style writing programs. At the same time, they have consciously or unconsciously changed their writing styles, arguably to make their works more translatable and thereby more accessible to Western audiences

That final comment has been made by or about writers in other languages from Japanese to Italian. The side effects are not limited to writing:

It appears that those who have been exposed to Western education and literature in systematic or immersive ways also tend to believe that contemporary Chinese authors compare unfavorably to Chinese authors from the 1920s and 1930s in terms of their educational background, cultural knowledge, and global perspective. These “pessimists” also advocate that Chinese authors read Western works widely since “the tradition of fiction came from Europe.”

Feng covers a lot of ground, from Paul Engle and Hualing Nieh Engle’s role in building the programs in Iowa and opening them to foreign writers, to translation, teaching, careers, institutional structure and dynamics, the rise of “popular web literature in a market-oriented economy” and the angst about where Chinese writing fits into “world literature”, or whether it does it all (without really questioning whether “world literature” is a sensible concept).

Some unfortunate phrasing has been allowed to creep in. In her long sidebar on Hong Kong and the programs there, she writes:

Moreover, in their mind, their program would integrate Hong Kong’s colonial heritages, such as the British educational model … and local strengths in English learning with the new reality of life under CCP rule ….

Hong Kong is not “under CCP rule”. Elsewhere she mentions “the state initiative to focus on ‘cultural and creative industry’ in Hong Kong”; but Hong Kong, not being a country, doesn’t itself have anything with the gravitas of “state” initiatives. One can deduce what she means, but neither terminology is as rigorously accurate as one might expect from an academic monograph. And “Hong Kong’s well-heeled Horse Racing Society” is presumably the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

But at the end, Feng takes a step back from the politics to note that

it would be unwise to dismiss ideologically informed and inflected literature as uncreative and to seek innovation only in works purportedly pursuing an autonomous aesthetic, even if that were at all possible in the Chinese context. Ideology, though often disparaged by Western scholars when judging literature, has always formed an integral component of cultural life in China rather than merely being a source of contamination.

Peter gordon is editor of the asian review of books., share this:.

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The Practical Value of Studying Philosophy

Posted in: Why Study Philosophy?

study of creative writing

Transferable Skills

By studying philosophy, students develop cognitive transferable skills that pay off in a variety of professions—transferable skills such as Logical Reasoning • Analysis • Abstract Conceptualization • Problem-Solving • Creative Thinking • Clear and Persuasive Writing • Mental Dexterity • An Ability to Assess Different Perspectives and Frameworks • Information Management.

Earning Potential

The national median salary of Philosophy graduates is higher than nearly every other major in the social sciences, humanities, and higher than many other majors—higher than Psychology, Criminology, Communication, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Business Management, Political Science, History, English, and so on (data source:  payscale.com ).

Which professions do philosophy graduates pursue? • Technology • Business • Law • Publishing • Government • Advertising • Journalism • Teaching • Sales • Human Resources • Public Relations • Activism • Public Policy, and so on.

Read about the practical value of studying philosophy

• Forbes  (2017) – “ A Case For Majoring In Philosophy ”

“Every year, college students choose their majors with an eye toward the return on investment. Among the usual lucrative suspects like finance and engineering, one liberal arts field stands out: philosophy. It turns out that philosophy majors earn significantly more than most majors, especially over the long term.”

“The surprisingly robust ROI [return on investment] for philosophy majors can be traced to its intellectual rigor. Philosophers are taught to seek out the pressure points in arguments and to reason for themselves. They dive into highly technical conversations, construct their own positions and arguments, and analyze relevant problems from multiple perspectives.”

“Beyond finances, the study of philosophy can also help students learn for themselves how they define the good life and how to go about living it.”

• U.S. News & World Report  (2020) – “ What You Can Do With a Philosophy Degree ”

“Philosophy students learn how to question conventional thinking, which is a marketable skill.”

“A Wall Street Journal analysis of the long-term earning potential of people with various college majors revealed that philosophy majors tend to get raises and promotions more quickly than individuals with other majors, and a result of this rapid career progression is that philosophy majors’ mid-career earnings are usually double the size of their starting salaries.”

• CNBC  (2018) – “ Mark Cuban says studying philosophy may soon be worth more than computer science—here’s why ”

“’I’m going to make a prediction’, Cuban told AOL in 2017. ‘In 10 years, a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree’…He views previously lucrative jobs in industries like accounting and computer programming as subject to the powers of automation. To remain competitive, Cuban advises ditching degrees that teach specific skills or professions and opting for degrees that teach you to think in a big picture way, like philosophy.”

• Times Higher Education  (2019) – “ What Can You Do with a Philosophy Degree? ”

“Philosophy graduates have highly transferable skills that are valuable to employers.”

“Graduates secure work in a variety of disciplines after their degree, such as teaching, PR or politics. Communications, publishing, HR and advertising can be attractive options for philosophy graduates, as well as law, banking, the civil service, business and science. Others go on to further study, research, academia and/or lecturing in philosophy or a related field.”

• Entrepreneur Magazine  (2017) – “ 5 Reasons Why Philosophy Majors Make Great Entrepreneurs ”

“When accomplished entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel and Carly Fiorina credit their philosophy backgrounds for their success, you have to wonder if they’re on to something.”

• New York Times  (2018) – “ A Wall Street Giant Makes a $75 Million Bet on Academic Philosophy ”

“Philosophy, he [Bill Miller] added, ‘has made a huge difference both to my life outside business, in terms of adding a great degree of richness and knowledge, and to the actual decisions I’ve made in investing’.”

“Mr. Miller, 67, is not the only old-guard Wall Street figure with a background in philosophy. George Soros was heavily influenced by the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper. Carl Icahn was a philosophy major at Princeton . . . (On the watchdog side of the street, Sheila Bair, the former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, was also a philosophy major.)”

• Harvard Business Review  (2014) – “ How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader ”

“A CEO client . . . found that contemplating the teachings of an ancient philosopher (Socrates) and a 20th century philosopher (Habermas) empowered him to implement an enhanced process of dialogue, consensus building, and ‘communicative rationality’ with his leadership team.”

• National Bureau Of Economic Research  (2017) – “ The Costs Of And Net Returns To College Major ”

“Health and Engineering majors, where earnings returns are large on a per graduate basis, have per-dollar returns similar to those observed in education, math, philosophy , and language degrees. .  .”

Graduate Study

Some philosophy majors go on to graduate studies in philosophy in order to pursue an academic career. The philosophy major is also exceptional training for many other post-graduate paths, such as law school. In fact, statistics indicate that philosophy majors perform very well on standardized tests for post-graduate and professional study.

  • The GRE (“the SAT for graduate school”) – Philosophy majors come out on top.

“When students are compared by major on how far above average they do on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a standardized test used in many disciplines to assess applicants to graduate programs, philosophy majors come out on top , according to a new look at test score data over the past few years.” (Daily Nous)

  • Our philosophy department and Montclair State’s Feliciano School of Business have partnered for a “4 + 1” Philosophy BA/MBA program .
  • The LSAT (the entrance exam for law school admissions) – Philosophy majors tie for first place with Economics majors.
  • Medical School – The Philosophy major is a solid path to medical school. Consider the data and facts as explained by Paul Jung, M.D: “ If you think biochemistry is your ticket into medical school, think again. “

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  24. Journal of Creative Writing Studies

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  25. Writing fiction; a phenomenological study of the creative writing

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  28. "The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China" by Jin Feng

    although the two don't seem quite parallel. The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China, Jin Feng (Columbia University Press, Association for Asian Studies, June 2024) The question how American and Chinese institutions of higher learning are related and interact was asked more broadly in William C Kirby's Empires of Ideas ...

  29. The Practical Value of Studying Philosophy

    Transferable Skills By studying philosophy, students develop cognitive transferable skills that pay off in a variety of professions—transferable skills such as Logical Reasoning • Analysis • Abstract Conceptualization • Problem-Solving • Creative Thinking • Clear and Persuasive Writing • Mental Dexterity • An Ability to Assess Different Perspectives and Frameworks ...

  30. PDF Academic Phrasebank

    Preface. The Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide the phraseological 'nuts and bolts' of academic writing organised according to the main sections of a research paper or dissertation. Other phrases are listed under the more general communicative functions of academic writing.